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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Our very own Fox 4 TV station news has gone viral

It's just that I can't personally be too proud of it:

Guitar Pee urinal turns user into a music whiz


Here's the video:



Ugh.

Walter Cronkite is surely spinning in his grave.


Another thing to worry about?

While I'm trying to search out and pay attention to information about radioactivity from the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe and I'm still glad I saw this, this seems of questionable origin both professionally and scientifically.

Anyway, for what it' worth, there it is. I'll see what else is out there.

It's not like there's a lot we could do about the rain anyway, is there?

Progress in Kansas City: Here we go again, folks

Seeing this headline in the Star today: KC landlord sends letters to tenants opposing streetcar plan

It reminds me of when they talked, several years ago, of light rail going through town, down Broadway.

At the time, another crusty, old, rich, white man--that time it was James B. Nutter--opposed the whole idea.

Obviously he got his way.

This time it's Roger Buford who, the paper tells us, is "president of Old Town Management, Inc."

Not only is he agin' it, but check this out--he "said his company distributed letters to about 1,500 units within the proposed downtown streetcar district, warning about possible rent increases if the streetcar project moves forward."

So if you don't like something, threaten to increase the rents of all you can. That way you can be sure of generating at least that many votes against it, or more, depending how many live there and vote. It's genius.

I have to say, I've made it clear I'm no Clay Chastain supporter, far from it, but I'm for mass transit. I'm for reducing the number of cars on the roads and I'm for cutting down the pollution and CO2 emissions in the area. Heck, I want to see that nationwide.

At this rate, Kansas City will never get "off the dime" and get a starter light-rail line going. We should at least have one going from the airport to downtown and the Plaza. Then, later, we could and should expand it from there, out East and West and South.

At this rate, we'll never get there.

Link: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/05/30/3633656/kc-landlord-sends-letters-to-tenants.html; http://www.kansascity.com/2012/05/30/3633526/once-again-rail-plans-hang-in.html

Now that's fun

I'm not a fan of much hip hop, with the exception of maybe Jason Mraz and a few others, but this kid gives a great twist and spin to this old, already-great song.

The thing about it is, too, it's a fun video to watch as well as a good song to hear redone.

Just had to share.

He has a lot of fun with it.

Enjoy that beautiful weather, y'all.

Huge arts weekend coming up

Yes sir, this should be a big arts weekend here in town this week.

For starters, it should be one of the biggest, if not the biggest First Fridays in the Crossroads District downtown for a few reasons.
The weather is supposed to be perfect or near-perfect with temperatures in the 70's. That alone will get a lot of people out.

Then, there's the fact that this is Pride weekend and there is a block party planned. That will be on the streets on McGee in between 10th and 12th Street. You can find out more about that here: http://www.gaypridekc.com/index_main.php.

Additionally, as if that isn't enough, there is a Zombie Walk For Hunger fundraiser through the District that same evening, just to add some fun to it all, along with a good cause.

Next up for the weekend is the annual Prairie Village Art Fair.


Again, great weather, open streets, lots of art and friends mingling. It should be very successful.

Then, Friday and Saturday there's something called Dancefestopia going on down at the Richard L. Berkeley Riverfront Park.

You can get tickets for it here: http://www.myticketspot.com/ResultsGeneral.aspx?stype=0&kwds=Dancefestopia

As if that isn't enough, Saturday, there is a grand opening of the Arts Asylum, a 32,000 square foot performing and visual arts center containing 22 studio spaces and a performance hall sanctuary. It's a former church at 9th and Harrison Streets (exact address: 1000 E. 9th). It begins at 7:30 pm. For more information, go here: www.theartsasylum.org.

There is a Festa Italiana at Zona Rosa that runs all 3 days, up North. For events, to to www.unicokc.org.

Finally, at least here--as if that isn't enough--there is the Ric Rac Roundup Craft Fair this Sunday in Westport in the parking lot of 300 Westport. That is just East of the old Corner Restaurant, right on the corner of Broadway and Westport. There are to be 27 vendors with arts, crafts and, of course, food.

So there you are, at least a small bit of what's going on this weekend in Kansas City on what promises to be a very comfortable, beautiful one, to boot.

Go, enjoy!

Have a great weekend, y'all.

An important video most Americans should see---but won't



The best 1 hour, 35 minutes and 42 seconds Americans will ever not see, possibly.

We got and will get the government we deserve.

Further evidence of why we need to kill campaign contributions

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Want to help and improve America?

I think we all agree we need to get the big, ugly, corrupting influence of the money from the wealthy and corporations out of our election system and so, our government. Until we do, nothing will change.

Link: http://video.msnbc.msn.com/the-rachel-maddow-show/47623790#47623790

The emergency of the shrinking middle class

No expletives here this time:

Quote of the day

Click on picture for larger, better viewing.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Now, dead birds in Overland Park



More natural weirdness.

Suddenly Seattle sounds like Kansas City

Breaking news today:

3 killed, 2 wounded in Seattle shooting; gunman still at large

Except there, in Seattle, this is big and unusual news.

Sad.

Sad for us and now them, too.

Kansas City, Detroit, St. Louis, we all take it in stride and think it's just another day.

Let's hope this kind of ignorance and insanity doesn't catch on there, too.

Link: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/2-killed-3-wounded-seattle-shooting-gunman-still-212556859.html

The Pitch stinks today

Okay, it's another Wednesday so yes, it's time to expect and search for the latest Pitch magazine, right?

Right?

Sure it is.

And it's got lots of coverage of everything socially and concerning the arts that's coming up for the next 3 months and that's all well and good but, but...

It doesn't have a new Charles Ferruzza restaurant review in it.

What good is the Pitch if it doesn't have that?

Link: http://www.pitch.com/

Mitt Romney's vision of America---a very white one

Just as The Daily Kos points out today, Mitt Romney's vision for America is, as we suspected, a very white one, as shown by his latest video from and for his campaign:
One thing seems clear, Mitt Romney, if elected president (God forbid) would keep the White House white.

Very white, if we are to believe his own media.

It's no coincidence--no coincidence at all--that it's very like John McCain's 2000 run, too.

Link: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/05/30/1095905/-Mitt-Romney-s-better-America-sure-is-white-isn-t-it-

Quote of the day


It would be nice, so nice, if Americans knew their history.

It would be incredible if we learned from it.

Permanently.

Monday, May 28, 2012

I'm so old

...I know who Peter Cushing is and more than a few of the things he's been in (even before the first "Star Wars", for your hint).
Happy 99th birthday, Mr. Cushing.

Entertainment overnight, Memorial Day edition

The Republicans are threatening--yet again--to take the nation to the brink of bankruptcy, all to "prove a point." (Click on picture for better viewing).
It didn't work for them--or the nation, certainly--last time.

It likely won't this time, either.

Here's hoping for some sanity, reason and logic from that group this time.

Bring them home

On this Memorial Day

Let's face it, if we really "respected our troops", we wouldn't have sent them in harm's way, first in Iraq, for the chosen, arbitrary, unnecessary, ignorant-to-the-point-of-stupid and illegal war that was and then into Afghanistan, where those people didn't want us, either.

We have George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to thank--rather, to hold responsible--for both.

They are war criminals, by their own words. We should hold them accountable, charge them and put them on trial.

We won't. We never will.

But we should.

Documentary coming out on climate change evidence


This is a new documentary that just came out of the Sundance Film Festival this year.

Apparently the man who shot it was formerly a global warming skeptic. What he saw and filmed changed his opinion on it completely.



You might watch for it. When it comes, it will likely be at the Tivoli Theater in Westport.

Want to help change America for the better?


Stop complaining and push for true, stringent, accountable, tough, prosecutable campaign finance reform and help get the big, ugly money out of our election system and so, our government.

Corporations and the wealthy buy their legislators--our legislators--with their "campaign contributions." Then, they get their legislation so they also end up getting our laws and so, finally, our government.

Until we get the big, ugly, corrupting influence of money out of our election system and so, our government, nothing will change.

I think virtually all of us agree on this one thing.

Be part of the change. Push for campaign finance reform. Help end these "campaign contributions", completely.

It really is that simple.

Link:  We need to make campaign finance a civil rights issue



Jimmy Carter, analyzing elections, needed here in the States

I've been listening to NPR this week as former President Jimmy Carter has been overseeing Egypt's elections.

Wow. What a great guy. What great work.

I don't know of another president who, once out of office, did so much for so many with his time and energies.

This is the 90th election Mr. Carter and his Foundation has overseen.

Good for him.

And in the case of each of those elections and nations having them, good for them.

But you know what?

The time has come, it seems obvious, that Mr. Carter's efforts to see to it that elections are run fairly, honestly and justly comes all the way back home to his own nation, here, in the U.S. of A.

Ever since the election of 2000, at least, when that one for our nation leader--our president--was so obviously at least manipulated, if not out-and-out stolen, it's been clear that our elections need 3rd party, unbiased oversight.

We've already got Republicans writing and passing all kinds of legislation in several states, at least, disenfranchising their citizens and possible voters. It even happened here in Kansas and Missouri.

It's been documented how African-Americans, in particular, all across Florida, had their votes ignored or thrown away, in past elections.

And now it seems to be happening yet again in Florida:

Florida telling hundreds of eligible citizens that they are ineligible to vote

Here's just four brief, different examples from the article:

- 1638 people in Miami-Dade County were flagged by the state as “non-citizens” and sent letters informing them that they were ineligible to vote.

- Of that group, 359 people have subsquently provided the county with proof of citizenship.

- Another 26 people were identified as U.S. citizens directly by the county.

- The bulk of the remaining 1200 people have simply not responded yet to a letter sent to them by the Supervisor of Elections.


We need election oversight here in the United States.

Please, Mr. President, bring your people and efforts back home where we sadly, badly need them.

Links: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/jimmy-carter-says-despite-violations-in-egypts-presidential-election-vote-acceptable/2012/05/26/gJQAtkMZsU_story.html; http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/05/27/491012/exclusive-florida-ineligible-to-vote/?mobile=nc; http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/05/27/when-you-cant-win-cheat-election-fraud-from-coast-to-coast/; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bush_v._Gore;http://world.std.com/~cme/html/election2000.html; http://gadfly.igc.org/politics/dissent.htm;http://www.stripersonline.com/t/847402/what-if-obama-v-romney-is-bush-v-gore-close

Quote of the day

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Entertainment overnight

Enjoy your Sunday, y'all

Missouri's state-sponsored inequality

The Kansas City Star has an excellent page in the op/ed section this morning, showing the winners and losers of the past week in the state capitols of Missouri and Kansas.

It's a terrific idea on their part.

It gives a pretty concise, if brief and encapsulated overview of what our legislators worked on and did or didn't do the past week.

It also tells, like 3 of my posts earlier this week, how they wasted their and so, our, time and money with their "work."

They pointed out that, nearly unbelievably, the Missouri legislature worked to make it illegal to discriminate against gun owners but that--wait for it--it's still legal to fire someone in the workplace if someone finds out they are same-sex attracted. Read: gay or homosexual.

And here you thought we were all equal in the United States.

As my brother will occasionally, for humor, say to me, quoting an old, favorite Doonesbury comic I love so much:

"Dream on you fascists."

(Click on comic for larger, better viewing)

These two legislatures seem to want to make us more and more like the worst attributes of the Right Wing, red-neck Southern states.

Pitiful.

Link: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/05/25/3627515/the-stars-editorial-lawmakers.html

How cool is this?

She's so lucky, so fortunate.

I hope it lasts all their long, healthy, happy lives.

With communication, it will.

Quote of the day, Sunday edition


Enjoy your Sunday and long weekend, y'all.

Entertainment overnight

Urge for going

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Now, time and money wasted by Kansas Governor Brownback

In a recurring thread here, this is number 3 in the series of "Ways Government Representatives Waste Time and Money":

Brownback signs bill banning use of Islamic law

Critics called measure discriminatory, unnecessary

TOPEKA, Kan. - "Gov. Sam Brownback has signed into law a bill aimed at keeping Kansas courts or government agencies from basing decisions on Islamic or other foreign legal codes.

Brownback's office notified the Senate of his action Friday, but he actually signed the measure Monday. The new law will take effect in July.

Muslim groups had urged him to veto the measure, arguing it promotes discrimination. Supporters say it simply restates American values.

Supporters have worried about Shariah law being applied in Kansas courts. However, they also point out that the bill doesn't specifically mention codes within the Islamic legal system."


Forget all this:

"Instead, it says courts or other tribunals can't base rulings on any foreign law or legal system that would not grant rights guaranteed by state and U.S."

Forget the fact that our Constitution forbids church and state working together.

Except they can't forget it, can they? Since they--Right Wing, fundamentalist Christians--want to shove THEIR religion down our figurative throats, every chance they get, regarding abortion or whatever, through our state and even Federal laws, eh?

Bloody hypocrites.

Link: http://www.kmbc.com/news/kansas-city/Brownback-signs-bill-banning-use-of-Islamic-law/-/11664182/14189664/-/4dfk7k/-/index.html

The Right Wing, Republicans and this President

And now, the way Senators in Washington wasted their/our time and money this past week

I pointed out here, earlier, the way our Missouri State legislators wasted their/our time and money this past week. Now, from Washington:

Senators Seek To Name Bison 'National Mammal'

We've got thousands of important--really important--things the Senate could and should be working on like, say, a budget we haven't had for three years but what are they working on, instead?

Why, what our "National Mammal" is.

We have a horribly broken health care system they're responsible for; we have corporations running over the nation, stealing from us, individually as well as collectively and all kinds of, as I said above, real problems but this is the kind of nonsense they spend their time on instead.

Really.

There is no shame.

Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/25/bison-national-mammal_n_1546602.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009

Entertainment overnight

Friday, May 25, 2012

Good news--and bad--on your birthday

First, the bad news:

The Google and Facebook and Pinterest and Socialcam and all kinds of computer organizations and people know all kinds of things about you, because of your computer and what you do and where you go on it.

Additionally, they sell that information.

Third, they can--and maybe sometimes do?--track you on it.

The good news?

They remember your birthday and send you this:

Think happy thoughts.

(Have a great weekend, y'all).

I'm so old...

I remember when the Broadway bridge had toll booths on it.

What I DIDN'T know, however, is that it was dedicated the same year I was born.

Who knew?

Have a great weekend, y'all.

How Missouri Legislators wasted their time--and our money--this week

Every time some Right Wing, demagoguing, Republican looney comes up with some new anti-abortion or pro-prayer piece of legislation, I'm repeatedly surprised, to the point of stunned.

This week, Missouri, Republican legislators came up with a new way to do all this, all in one movement, with this week's use--waste--of their/our time:

Right-to-pray amendment slated for August ballot by Nixon

It seems Right Wing, "conservative" Republicans wanted to do their best to get their voters to the polls this November because, after all, they want to make sure the black guy isn't re-elected--so they came up with this bill.

Sure, it's not necessary and it may even be unconstitutional, since it brings more and more religion into our political lives but this was their goal. They wanted to make sure we Missourians vote on the right and ability to pray in public. Forget that no one really has any problem doing that now. Forget that it's already possible. Forget, by all means, that the state has real, actual, tangible issues that DO need our legislators attention, no, no, forget all that. Instead, let's propose this nearly completely pointless bill in an effort to both appease our staunch, core base and, at the same time, hopefully get more people voting on the first Tuesday in November.

The problem, at least for these people?

It didn't work.

Democratic Governor Jay Nixon instead called out that this goofy, pointless bill will, instead, be voted on come August, instead.

Sheesh.

Would that they would do the work we need to be done.

I-70, from St. Louis to Kansas City--all through the state--is a dangerous, slow mess but they spend their time on this kind of thing, instead.

Shameful.

Links: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/political-fix/right-to-pray-amendment-slated-for-august-ballot-by-nixon/article_19a8f7ec-a51c-11e1-962b-001a4bcf6878.html;http://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/rush-to-judgment-missouri-s-deceptive-right-to-pray-amendment-heads-for

Things I learned in the last two weeks

--What vetch is;

--What crown vetch is;

--What elderberry bushes look like;

--How beautiful the purple bloom, the flower, is on crown vetch;

--That this weed, crown vetch, fortunately pulls away from the host plant, in this case, elderberry bushes, very easily;

--That elderberry bushes are native to our area (or so I'm told);

--That elderberry bushes and very hearty plants and can take a lot of abuse;

--What a "tractor cruise" is and why people go on them;

--Where the Kansas City, Missouri dump site for yard waste is;

--That is you're from Kansas City, Missouri, you can get great, free mulch at their dump site;

--That straw and hay, in the sunlight, really to shine like gold in the sunlight;

--That after working all day on a farm and being totally wiped out, you can do it again the next day;

--That a bad back doesn't have to keep you from being able to work, even on a farm, working on hay bales;

--What's it like to work with hay and straw, and for hours;

--That if you have a choice of working with two different pitchforks, you make sure you don't get the one with the shorter tines (well, unless you want to slough off and not really work much);

--What a sandpiper's egg looks like (stunningly beautiful and simple);

--That a sandpiper mother will work hard--and for a long time--to protect her egg.

Among other things, no doubt.

Have a great, safe, holiday weekend, y'all.

I'm concerned

We haven't heard from The Crustybastard or Damnitkage in 4 weeks.

Quote of the day

If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power." ~Dwight D Eisenhower, Remarks at the forth annual Republican Women's National Conference (6 March 1956)

To Kim, Brent, Frank (you, too, Frank?) and that other Kevin Evans on Facebook

They say it's your birthday... it's my birthday too, yeah...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Beautiful music, with a message

If you can listen to this beautiful song, please take the same time to watch--and read--the video.
It has a great and important message.

We are our brothers'--and sisters'--keepers.

(Thanks to Donna--"Just Me" blog--for the link and inspiration).

Quote of the day

"Europe is headed for deep turmoil because Europeans have something to defend. They’ll fight to keep a decent social welfare net. The Americans don’t even know what a minimally just society looks like or feels like. We’ll have to create that society through struggle, and almost from scratch." --Glen Ford, Black Agenda Radio(www.BlackAgendaReport.com).

Link: http://blackagendareport.com/content/united-states-impoverished-delusional-society

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Entertainment overnight



So beautiful.

Good night, y'all.

Crazy priorities


We need to cut defense spending in half, at least.

Then we need to spend at least some of that on people and food and clothing and shelter and medical help.

THOSE are wise priorities.

Great question, really

The importance of not giving up

As Mr. Reich says, first, it's important to not be cynical and give up.

Second, it's important we work together. After all, we're the "working class." Together, we can change things for the nation and for the better.

Finally, at least to me--but I'm not alone on this--we have to get the big, ugly, corrupting money of the wealthy and corporations out of our election system, and so, out of our government. Forgive me for repeating but it really is that important. If we don't get this huge money out of our system, nothing will ever change.

I think we all recognize that.

Links: www.robertreich.org, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Reich

Sure, it's dry here right now

Did you know there are several wildfires burning at this very moment on the North American continent?

Here's a list:

--Gladiator Wildfire
Arizona State Forestry Division - State Office
Arizona, USA
Active 14,963

--Hewlett Fire Wildfire
Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests/Pawnee National Grassland
Colorado, USA
Active 7,685

--Whitewater Wildfire
Gila National Forest
New Mexico, USA
Active 985

--Collins Wildfire
Coronado National Forest, Arizona, USA
Active 50

--Sunflower Fire Wildfire
Tonto National Forest, Arizona, USA
Active 16,115

--Baldy Fire Wildfire
Gila National Forest, New Mexico, USA
Active 4,000

--Bull Flat Fire Wildfire
Fort Apache Agency, Arizona, USA
Active 2,145

--Highway 1 Wildfire
Superior National Forest, Minnesota, USA
Active 175 1 day ago

Then, not to be done there, as though that's not enough, there's a wildfire in Canada now, too:

Kirkland Lake, Ont. forest fire forces 300 from homes

Natural Resources officials say the fire broke out Sunday morning and by Monday had consumed more than 20 square kilometres of forest.

My point?

If it is, in fact, a rather long, hot, dry Summer, the way some meteorologists have forecasted, it may be a rough one.

A really rough one.

Here's hoping it's not.

(I'd say pray for rain but when Texas Governor Rick Perry did that with a group last year, things only got much worse).

Links: http://www.kpho.com/story/18568191/gladiator-fire-claims-2-more-structures; http://inciweb.org/; http://www.nifc.gov/nicc/sitreprt.pdf; http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Canada/20120521/kirkland-lake-forest-fire-120521/

Good news, at last, from a local state capitol

Finally, at last, some good news from a local state capital:

Science Prevails In Missouri And Alabama As Creationism Bills Die in Both States

"Science scored a major victory in Missouri and Alabama last week as multiple anti-evolution bills died in the legislatures of both states.

In Missouri, the House Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education decided not to vote on a pair of bills that would have made creationism an accepted science even though there is no evidence supporting it. HB 1276 would have allowed teachers “to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of the theory of biological and hypotheses of chemical evolution.” In other words, the bill would have allowed right-wing religious fanatical teachers to push their anti-evolution views. The other bill, HB 1227 would have forced “the equal treatment of science instruction regarding evolution and intelligent design,” at every level in public school and in “any introductory science course taught at any public institution of higher education.” This bill would have actually forced schools and colleges to teach creationism alongside evolution, while allowing teachers bash evolution."


I didn't know or think that this nonsense had taken a foothold in Missouri but there it is. Wow. This is painful. Thank goodness it didn't pass. Either strength and intelligence or cowardice won out.

Let's hope it was strength and intelligence.

The state has real issues and problems to deal with--like fixing I-70 from Illinois to Kansas--but they deal with this, instead.

Sick.

And lazy, too.

You'd think they'd be ashamed of themselves.

Link: http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/05/21/creationism/

They're all political prostitutes

I saw a picture of President Obama on Facebook today with some note about him being a political whore, literally.

The thing is, I think we think of all our representatives--nationally, in Congress, but on a statewide level, too--as prostitutes, taking money for their work.

The thing is, to an extent, in a crude way, they are.

But they are because of the way our political system has evolved. It has evolved that they need "campaign contributions." Lots and lots of campaign contributions.

And the only reason this has developed and the only way it will change is if we--the people of the country, the citizens, the taxpayers and voters--stand up and demand change.

We need to demand that we get true, accountable, effective, prosecutable, tough campaign finance reform so no campaign contributions from anyone, anywhere is any longer allowed in the nation.

Until we do this, until we demand this reform and change, nothing will happen.

Until we get this reform, the wealthy and corporations will own our legislators and their legislation and so, our laws and finally, our government.

We need to stand up.

And that time is now. It's long overdue, as we know.

If we aren't willing to do that, we deserve the government we get.

Quote of the day

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” --Leonardo da Vinci

On the President's speech in Joplin last evening

Like it or not, whatever your political party, President Obama hit at least a home run with this commencement speech to the Joplin graduating class last evening.

Links: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/05/21/3621338/obama-to-joplin-graduates-you.html; http://www.kmbc.com/news/31095345/detail.html

Monday, May 21, 2012

We will now watch the State of Kansas self-destruct

With this move by Governor Sam Brownback:

Kansas legislature sends $14.3 billion budget to governor

"After 99 days of anger and anguish, Kansas lawmakers went home following a rare Sunday session, leaving the governor to sign a bill slashing taxes and letting judges draw new election districts."

The key is "leaving the governor to sign a bill slashing taxes..."

Sad.

It is truly sad what the Kansas legislature and what they've been doing has become.

It's so sad what Governor Brownback has done and is doing to the state.

It's all so pathetic and downright scary.

The state will both have no money and create no new jobs.

Man the exits.

Link: http://midwestdemocracy.com/articles/kansas-legislature-sends-143-billion-budget-to-governor/

Yet another brilliant move by Missouri Legislators (not)

I could hardly believe the title of the article:

Missouri lawmakers vote to lower fees on radioactive shipments

You have to be kidding me.

Would that this were a horrible, belated April Fool's joke.

Uh, Legislators?

Questions.

First---Why?

I mean, come on.

Do we want MORE of these things? Do we want to make sure we get more radioactive shipments in and across the state so we're going to reward corporations for these things? Do you think that's what we really want?

And then here's a good question--did you think we have too much state tax revenue so we can give this away? We have THAT much money coming in?

We know that's not the case.

Republican Rob Schaaf of St. Joseph (my hometown I am, in this case, proud to say) said it best when he asked: "Why would I want to help a Canadian company while potentially putting public safety at risk? I just think this is wrong."

This is the same question I have about the Transcanada--very Canadian--Keystone XL pipeline. Why are we busting our chops to give a Canadian company big benefits to run THEIR OIL over our country so they can then sell it to world markets, period? But it's especially outright stupid when we threaten our own environment, given that oil spills would eventually be all but assured? It makes no sense.

This, likely, is yet another development created by the fact that in this case State legislators need campaign money. Someone--or a group of someones--in Jefferson City needed "campaign contributions" so the nuclear industry lobby ponied up a bit of money and bought themselves some cheap, wonderful legislation they wanted anyway.

Corporations and the wealthy, buying our legislators, their legislation and so, our laws and government.

We have got to kill campaign contributions.

Link to article: http://midwestdemocracy.com/articles/missouri-lawmakers-vote-lower-fees-radioactive-shipments/

The US is the world's military arms whore

Sure, the title is to shock and get readers but I only put it up there--can only put it up there--because it's so true.

The United States, addicted as we are to letting all "business" do whatever it wants, virtually, is the world's military arms whore.

There, I said it again.

Years ago, when it was found that civilians--men, women and children--were having arms and legs blown off after mines were "found" in formerly war-torn countries, there was a push by organizations to have the countries of the world ban mines.

Who was the holdout?

Why, the United States of America, of course.

What? And lose that manufacturing sector?

We'd have nothing of it.

That's but one example. This is another.

The new "go to" military tool--and we created it, really--is the drone.

We're using them everywhere. We love these things, as a country.

We began by using them for strictly military purposes, spying on our enemies, to see where they were and what they were doing.

Now?

Now we use them on the US-Mexican border to see just whatever is down there and, to an extent, I guess that makes sense.

But it's when we started using them on us--US citizens--that it started getting ugly.

First the Federal Government wanted to use them and now states are getting into the act. It ain't pretty.

Now, check this out. I saw this article today:

Iraq Buys US Drones to Police Oil Reserves

Two of America's favorite things--oil and weapons of war, all in one big, happy transaction.

At least with these drones, we're not directly killing anyone. Well, not yet anyway.

And you can expect there will be a HUGE proliferation of these things, in time to come, too.

Face it, the US so outspends the rest of the world on arms, war and war machines of all types, there is no way we'll want to tear down all that spending and all that business the way we need, for the benefit and actual strengthening of the nation. We need to get away from defense spending--spending on bombs and war--and back to investing in our people and country.

Just don't look for it to take place without a fight.

It won't be easy or any time soon.

Link: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/05/21-1

More good business news on the home front

Article I saw this morning:

U.S. HAS BEEN THE #1 COUNTRY TO MOVE MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY TO IN PAST 2 YEARS

"In a sharp reversal from years past – America is actually INSOURCING manufacturing jobs again. Companies are finding transportation and energy costs are climbing and costing them more money in the long run. As we have written – America has created nearly 500,000 jobs since January of 2010…stopping the hemorrhaging of job losses for blue collar workers.

Two-thirds of big US manufacturers have moved factories in the past two years, with the most popular destination being the US, according to a survey being released on Monday by Accenture, the consultants."


So that is good news.

Now, what else could and should happen?

Our Congress in Washington should propose and pass a law that all tax credits and deductions to companies to take manufacturing offshore should be rescinded and eliminated immediately.

I mean, really, does it make any sense to reward companies here in the States to take manufacturing offshore?

Of course not.

And the only reason those were created was because some corporate lobbyists proposed the idea to a or some people in Congress along with a check--or some checks--in "campaign contributions."

We should see to this as soon as possible.

Please take a moment and email your Congressional representatives in the Senate and House. It's too simple and makes far too much sense.

Links: http://www.classwarfareexists.com/u-s-has-been-the-1-country-to-move-manufacturing-industry-to-in-past-2-years/; http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/115005c6-a225-11e1-a22e-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1vWY6ZnVl

Long, hot Summer?

A friend wrote this today on his Facebook page. I had written something similar to it some time back:

"I feel it in my gut it's gonna be a hot summer, with occupy protests , crime, an ugly election cycle, possible world economic turmoil, tears, laughter , presidente, guiness, musica, bad rap blasting, good hip hop, great movies, commercial crap, hot sex, beaches, fun nights...and hot days and hurricanes....prepare for the ride..."

Here's hoping for sanity.

Lots of sanity.

And reason.

Quote of the day

‎"Ignorance of each other is what has made unity impossible in the past. Therefore we need enlightenment. We need more light about each other. Light creates understanding, understanding creates love, love creates patience, and patience creates unity. Once we have more knowledge (light) about each other, we will stop condemning each other and a United front will be brought about." --Malcolm X

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Another important documentary coming out soon

This one is on the BP Gulf oil spill and our government's work--or lack of it--in the capping and cleanup, after the fact.
It opens June 19. Please take the time to see it, for all our sake.

"An informed citizenry is the bulwark of a democracy." --Thomas Jefferson

Link: http://truth-out.org/news/item/9261-the-big-fix-documentary-exposes-bp-us-government-on-gulf-disaster

Kansas, corporate America and their poisons in the NY Times today

Yes sir, the little town of Treece, Kansas--or what and who is left of it--is in The New York Times today:

Last Ones Left in a Toxic Kansas Town

It seems this little town on the edge of Oklahoma was a zinc and lead area for decades and many big profits were made by companies.

Trouble is, no one held those companies responsible for the clean up:

"Then there’s the water. The local Tar Creek is the color of orange juice, and it smells like vinegar. This is because when the mining companies left, they shut off the pumps that kept abandoned shafts from filling with groundwater. Once water flooded the tunnels, it picked up all the trace minerals underground — iron, lead and zinc — and flushed them into rivers and streams. Fish and fowl fled or went belly-up. 'The only thing polluted in Treece,' says Rex Buchanan, interim director at the Kansas Geological Survey, 'is the earth, air and water.'”

And the thing is, there are lots of corporate-made Treeces all over the US.

Do you suppose America and Americans will ever learn?

If we do, do you suppose it won't be too late?

Here's hoping.

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/20/magazine/last-ones-left-in-treece-kan-a-toxic-town.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120520

America vs. Europe--and sanity and decency (guest post)

"Thanks to the U.S. corporate media’s great skills of obfuscation, omission and just plain lying, Americans are quite confused about the political and financial crisis in Europe, and what it means on this side of the Atlantic. People in the United States harbor vague fears that the social turmoil they see playing out in European elections and on the streets may come here. This scares them, which is almost funny, in a very sad way, since what European working people are struggling to avoid is being forced to live like most Americans, at the total mercy of the rich.

Europeans are righteously upset because they have something quite precious to lose: a social safety net that provides levels of security that Americans have never experienced, and that many cannot even imagine. Since most overworked or underemployed Americans don’t know how Europeans actually live, they find it difficult to understand what all the fuss is about. U.S. corporate media fill in the vast blanks in American consciousness with slanders against Europe – the relatively comfortable French and the devastated Greeks, alike – branding them all lazy slackers who don’t want to work hard or pay their bills. America’s damn near nonexistent social welfare structure is packaged as a virtue, while the sights and sounds of European protest are made to seem ominous, dangerous, selfish.

Most Americans of modest means don’t travel to countries where the people live better than they do, or are so oblivious that they don’t notice the deep social service networks that underlie these societies. Americans cannot understand, for example, that higher educational achievement is so often tied to strong national compacts among citizens and fundamental notions of social equality – these qualities being absent in American life. CNN is quick to cite figures on European unemployment, but tells its U.S. audience virtually nothing about the social safety net that makes unemployment in Europe a very different experience than being without a job in the United States."
--The United States: An Impoverished, Delusional Society. A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

And ladies and gentlemen, Kansas' own Governor, Sam "The Sham" Brownback is about to make that American Dream even more of a skinflint nightmare, with his austerity budget.

To all Kansans, all I can say is, get ready for the really ugly, scary part of the roller coaster because if the Guv has his way, it's about to get nasty. You'll wish the arts were the only thing you lost and didn't have in your state.

Link: http://blackagendareport.com/content/united-states-impoverished-delusional-society

Albert Einstein, speaking of too many Americans today, it would seem

"But could not our situation be compared to one of a menacing epidemic? People are unable to view this situation in its true light, for their eyes are blinded by passion. General fear and anxiety create hatred and aggressiveness. The adaptation to warlike aims and activities has corrupted the mentality of man; as a result, intelligent, objective and humane thinking has hardly any effect and is even suspected and persecuted as unpatriotic." ~-Albert Einstein "The Menace of Mass Destruction"

Link: http://www.fanpop.com/spots/quotes/articles/80872/title/albert-einstein-quotes-on-war-peace

On separation of church and state

‎"Politics, like science, depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality. Moreover, politics, unlike science, involves compromise, the art of the possible. Religion does not allow for compromise. It insists on the impossible. To base one's life on such uncompromising commitments may be sublime; to base our policy making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing." --Barack Obama, "The Audacity of Hope," 2006

Quote of the day

''If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don't want to do it.'' —Stephen Colbert

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Politics and prostitution---what we've come down to

‎"Politics and prostitution have to be the only jobs where inexperience is considered a virtue. In what other profession would you brag about not knowing stuff? 'I'm not one of those fancy Harvard heart surgeons. I'm just an unlicensed plumber with a dream and I'd like to cut your chest open.' The crowd cheers." —Tina Fey, in her book "Bossypants"

A win for justice, abortion opponents and the Obama administration, all in one

Breaking news: Chen Guangcheng, Chinese Activist Who Escaped House Arrest, Arrives In U.S.

This is nothing but good news for anyone and everyone who supports fairness, justice, decency and all that is good.

Here's a man who learned of women being forced to have abortions by their own national government--in this case, Chinese--so he stood up, virtually alone, from what I understand, and did his best to fight it.

So the right thing happened here, thank goodness.

Part of the reason it happened was because of international communications. Whether it's because of the internet and all its social media or whatever, the world is no longer in the dark, so to speak, about these cases.

Thank goodness for that.

It's yet further proof of the power of the internet and social media--but of the people, too. The right thing happened here because anything else was not justice. Anything else happening in this case and to this man would have been grossly wrong and the Chinese leaders and government were overrun by it.

It's a great day.

It's a great day for justice and for what's right and for the people of the world.

It's enough to give one hope.

Here's another thing, too. It's a win, really, not just for "the people", collectively, but for the Obama administration, like it, accept it or not.

Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/19/chen-guangcheng-arrives-us_n_1530182.html

JP Morgan loses $3b: You're darn right, Mr. President

Weekly Address: Congress Must Move Forward, Not Back On Wall Street Reform

Last night's "New Rules" from "Real Time..."

As ever, some expletives.

Have a great weekend, y'all.

Countdown to July 20



I can hardly wait.

Link: http://www.kcsymphony.org/ContentCtl/ViewAct/TodaysNews/115

One world government?

"Mankind's desire for peace can be realized only by the creation of a world government." --Albert Einstein



What has this got to do with anything?

A lot, really.

If you think about it, given computers, technology, our ability to communicate with each other and the world, you have to realize that what we are headed for is a "world government", as Einstein spoke of all those years ago, just for different reasons.

I've been thinking of this for some time. It seems the movements and machinations in Europe this past year has proven it, too, what with the situation in Europe and their financial mess.

Germany has all the money, Greece, the debt. For Germany, specifically, to be strong-arming Greece, from without, to go on austerity budgets and slash spending, even if they--Germany--are the ones with the money, promising the helpful loans Greece needs, it seems an indication of what is happening along those lines in this new world.

Personally, I think an ultimate, "one-world government" would be a good thing. No, I think it would be a great thing. And the sooner it takes place, the better.

There will have to be all kinds of local structure in place and we'd have to communicate still further and--God forbid--talk to one another, through the nations and national government. In short, the world's people would have to open their minds. (That makes it seem virtually impossible, I must say).

But if we could see that we are, all of us, on this planet, in this together for and with all the natural resources and weather and everything, maybe, just maybe we'd all learn to share and maybe, just maybe then we'd never war again.

Hey, I can dream, can't I?

Television more Americans should see

PBS and KCPT are going to show the "Independent Lens" series' show on an American soldier's and his wife's troubles after serving in the military and our wars. It's called "Hell and Back Again."

Watch Oscar-Nominated Hell and Back Again Comes to PBS on PBS. See more from Independent Lens.


I mention this in hopes that more people will, in fact, see this program.

Watching this so we know what our American soldiers are going through--their difficulties and sacrifices and pain--is the least we can do, as citizens back home, here in the states.

If we support our soldiers, seeing this is something we owe them. It's the least we can do.

Link: http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/hell-and-back-again/

Happy birthday, Gloria Emerson

"Gloria Emerson was an American journalist and writer, who with passion, insight and art documented some of the darkest scenes of our times. She was best known for her award-winning reporting of the Vietnam War for Te New York Times."

Link: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/gloria-emerson-6163682.html

Friday, May 18, 2012

Entertainment overnight

You have to listen to the words.

Now that's funny. Man, she's good.

Have a great weekend, y'all.

Kansas City and Missouri on PBS' "Need to Know"

PBS' television show "Need to Know" is covering the state's current situation on payday loan offices and regulations on them pending right now in Jefferson City.

Watch Loans on the line on PBS. See more from Need To Know.

Fortunately, this is one time organized religions--in this case, Catholics--are stepping up to say this is wrong, that this is morally wrong to charge and be able to charge up to and over 400% interest rates on their loans.

It's disgusting and it is, in fact, plainly immoral.

At least it's immoral to a great deal of us out here.

Link: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/

Notes on KCPT's "Kansas City Week in Review" this week

1) There is no way the Kansas tax bill will go through as is;

2) Rush Limbaugh being inducted into the Missouri Hall of Fame is disgusting, period;

3) The way the Republicans had this "ceremony" for Limbaugh's induction was disgusting and deceitful;

4) Dave Helling is right--the things the state governments in Kansas and Missouri has been spending their--our--time on is, too frequently, pointless, partisan and wasteful, at minimum, time and again and they need to stop this trend. The people will have to step up, speak up and get them to stop. Another example of the waste of State lawmakers' time, after the Rush Limbaugh bust and the ceremony for it is proposing and voting on a law against Sharia law. Just ignorant.;

5) The Star's articles this past week is the kind of good, reporting, hard-hitting research and writing they should be doing;

6) There is no way the Boilermaker's Union can support what The Star shows, specifically the pay of the top leaders of the group, for no bigger than the Union is;

7) Stacey Cameron doesn't look or seem trustworthy, unfair as that may be;

8) Dave Helling just doesn't look well. Naturally I/we hope he is.

Link: http://kcpt.org/localproductions/kansas-city-week-in-review/

Poco's on the Boulevard

I enjoy Poco's on the Boulevard restaurant. I like the food, I enjoy the atmosphere and the service is at least pretty dependable. I always enjoyed the vegetarian tamales, I believe they were.

Anyway, I learned two things just now.

First, the restaurant is named after a real live person named Poco. So that's cool.

Second, sadly, Poco passed today. This from their Facebook page just now:

"We are sorry to announce that Poco has passed away and therefore our hours of operation on Saturday May 19th will be 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. only. No breakfast or lunch will be served on this day."

My condolences and sympathy to Poco's family, friends, staff and colleagues.

President Obama coming to Missouri

President Obama, it has been announced, is coming to Joplin this Monday, to

Obama to visit victims of Joplin, Mo., tornado

"President Obama will visit Missouri on Sunday to meet with victims of the storm that devastated the town of Joplin, Mo., two days ago and to hear about the disaster response from emergency officials."

It's a smart move, too. This way he looks presidential and can hopefully get on the good side of "average Americans" in that whole area. In that area of the state, he might get some good feeling from Kansas and Oklahoma, which, of course, are nearby.

Note the quote: "He said that while in Missouri, he is hoping 'to pray with folks and give them whatever assurance and comfort I can that the entire country is going to be behind them.'”

That is one shrewd, likely transparent statement.

Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/44/post/obama-to-visit-victims-of-joplin-mo-tornado/2011/05/24/AFvG3VAH_blog.html

On the proliferation of inexpensive wine

First, there was, rather famously, "two-buck Chuck", introduced by Trader Joes.

And thank goodness for that.

They started the trend, I think we can say, clearly. That is, a fairly good, everyday table wine.

Of course, for the longest time, we couldn't get it here since we had no such store. Fortunately for us, that's changed with them having come to Ward Parkway Center.

Then, naturally, Walmart had to get in the mix so they introduced their own private label wine for nearly the same price. (It's actually about 20 cents less per bottle, as it should be. The quality, if you can call it that--"quality"--at this price level), is just not quite as good.

Now, I just learned last evening that local grocery store Hy-Vee has their own private label wine for $3 a bottle.

From what I understand, there is actually a glut of oil on the world markets.

I don't know. I can't check that out.

But I do know there is a glut of pretty good, inexpensive wine in the retail markets.

And for that, I'm grateful.

Very grateful.

Have a great weekend, y'all. And drink responsibly, if at all.

Two questions on former Kansas City leaders (updated)

That last post on KCUR FM's new General Manager got me thinking yet again about two former leaders in town who not only quit their jobs and moved on but seemed to disappear quickly. Both cases seemed at least odd.

And both the gentlemen who left were Black---they were African-Americans--coincidentally.

The first was the President and CEO, I believe, of KCPT.

I can't remember his name.

All of a sudden, he quit, was gone and there was no explanation given.

The other was the head of Penn Valley Community College--Bernard Johnson was his name, I believe. One day he's working there, the next, he's turned in his resignation.

I thought both situations were so odd.

Here are high-paying positions commanding some respect and all of a sudden both of these gentlemen resigned and with no explanation.

And sure, maybe there was no big, dark, ugly secret to it but usually when people in these positions resign, it's very publicly announced that they're going on to such and such a new position and company.

If there was, in both these cases, nothing dark about the changes, it seems the changes made were very quietly kept.

It made me wonder why, at least.

If anyone knows what happened in either case, I'd love to hear. Just curious.

Now, breaking news, there's this today from KCUR:

Kemper Museum Announces Resignation Of Director

This seems to fit this thread, too.

So, questions:

Why? Why is the Kemper Museum abruptly, it seems, resigning? Was it a personality clash with someone? disagreement? What, exactly, went on here? Nothing? Something? Is it similar, in any way, to the reasons the other two men left their positions?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Link: http://kcur.drupal.publicbroadcasting.net/post/kemper-museum-announces-resignation-director

Good news for America; Bad news for Republicans

Just announced this morning:

Unemployment rates fall in two-thirds of US states

WASHINGTON (AP) — Unemployment rates fell in two-thirds of U.S. states last month, evidence that modest economic growth is boosting hiring in most areas of the country.

And in many states, unemployment has fallen well below the national average, which was 8.1 percent last month. Rates were lower than 7 percent in 22 states in April. That compares to only 13 states in April 2011.

The Labor Department said Friday that unemployment rates dropped in 37 states in April, the most in three months. Unemployment rose in 5 states and was unchanged in eight.

Nationally, the unemployment rate has fallen a full percentage point since August. Employers have added a million jobs over the past five months, although the pace of hiring slowed in March and April.


Good for Americans.

Good for the country.

Good for all us working stiffs.

Bad for the Republican political party.

The haters.

Link: http://news.yahoo.com/unemployment-rates-fall-two-thirds-us-states-143609469--finance.html

KCUR's new GM

NPR radio station KCUR 89.3 FM announced that it has found and hired their new General Manager. He is Nico Leone, formerly of KDHX of St. Louis.

Just one question: They couldn't find anyone from here in Kansas City for the job?

It always surprises me when a company selects a person or a company--especially architects and the like--from outside the city.

Maybe a radio station GM for an NPR station is tough to get from here in town. It just seems there ought to maybe be enough people from some organization which they could choose.

He'll know radio.

He just doesn't know Kansas City or the people here.

Link: http://kcur.org/post/kcur-names-new-general-manager

America's and American's so-wrong view of history



I think it's exemplified by this video.

"We didn't start the fire."

Nonsense.

Pardon the crude language but to be more emphatic, because it deserves it, bullshit.

I think it can easily, historically and factually be argued from at least Vietnam on that we--the US--did, in fact, start the fire.

We chose to go into Vietnam. We chose to add soldiers to the country. We chose to escalate the war. We chose to stretch it out, too, and bomb Cambodia.

To say otherwise gives us far too much credit and excuses our incredibly stupid, murderous, killing ways, then and now, what with Iraq and Afghanistan.

Our President at the time, one George W. Bush and his administration chose to go into Iraq, disgustingly, shamefully, ignorantly and irresponsibly enough. And totally against national and international law.

Far before Vietnam, too, there's the messy, inconvenient little truth and fact that the US chose to have Chile's own Salvador Allende assassinated. Sure, he was a Marxist but he was democratically elected by the people of that country.

"We didn't start the fire"?

Again, bullshit.

Let's not kid or lie to ourselves.

We've been starting a lot of fires, as a country.

And for a long time, sadly.

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvador_Allende; http://www.zompist.com/latam.html; http://www-personal.umich.edu/~lormand/poli/soa/chile.htm

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

KCMO: One of "10 best cities for new graduates"

Well, in spite of all the naysayers and negative bloggers, our own Kansas City, Missouri hit yet another big, national list of good things about us.

We are, in fact, listed as one of the best cities in the nation for new graduates by CNBC. It's also being blared out on Yahoo! right now, too.

Their stats on us:

Unemployment rate: 7.6%

Cost of living index: 97.8

Mean annual income: $45,050

Top industries: business, agriculture

Followed by this little blurb about us:

"K.C. is well known for its contributions in the categories of barbecue, jazz, and blues, but it continues to evolve. 'Healthy living and an eco-friendly lifestyle are just one part of the booming downtown of Kansas City,' says Christina Aragon, director of strategy and customer insights at Rent.com.

So there you go. Yet one more feather in our cap, so to speak.

Fact is, there are a lot worse places to live in the world and country, folks, by a long shot.

Enjoy.

Links: http://realestate.yahoo.com/promo/10-best-cities-for-new-graduates.html; http://www.cnbc.com/id/47376598?__source=yahoorealestate%7Ccitiesforgraduates%7C&par=yahoorealestate

To the Black--African-American--community

‎"We have not said much about the homosexual at all, but we must relate to the homosexual movement because it is a real thing. And I know through reading, and through my life experience and observations that homosexuals are not given freedom and liberty by anyone in the society. They might be the most oppressed people in the society." --Huey Newton, Co-founder of the Black Panther Party
August 15 1970

It's about equality, people.

Equality.

That's all.

The same thing you've been working and fighting for.

That's all.

Link: http://hiphopandpolitics.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/looking-back-at-huey-newtons-thoughts-on-gay-rights-in-the-wake-of-obamas-endorsement/

Quote of the day

‎"The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists." --Ernest Hemingway

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

An example of why we don't need "guns, guns and more guns"

Kansas City got yet another example the other day on why we--our society, in general but Kansas City and the nation, both--absolutely don't need "more guns, everywhere, all the time" as the NRA and their supporters seem to support.

From The Kansas City Star:

Metro Squad investigates killing of Raytown man

"Harry M. Stone looked forward to his next physical challenge.

For the 60-year-old longtime Raytown resident, that meant jogging daily to prepare to join relatives this summer to climb Aspen Mountain in Colorado.

He was doing that Sunday morning when a gunman leaned out of a passing sedan and fatally shot Stone in what police believe was a random, unprovoked drive-by shooting."


A random, pointless, needless shooting that creates a tragedy. A life lost. A family deeply hurt. Friends who lose someone close and dear to them.

For nothing.

And sure, this is where the NRA and those supporters say "Sure, but if you take away guns, only the bad guys will have guns."

Right. I get so tired of that logic.

How, exactly, was this Mr. Stone supposed to know he was going to be shot for no reason, out of the blue, for starters? And so how, after that, was he supposed to know he should be "packing heat"--carrying a gun--for self-protection on his morning walk.

The logic doesn't fit. It doesn't fit at all.

As a society, as a culture, we Americans are just far too reliant and dependent on guns in our lives and in our world.

No nation on the planet has more shootings and so, more killings by handguns and other weapons than we do. And it's been this way for decades, at least. We're gun-wacko.

No, it just makes no sense.

The trouble is, I don't know how you reduce the number of guns that are in a society, once they're already out there. It's a deadly Pandora's box that can't be re-shut, it seems.

And just try suggesting that we register them.

Good luck and God help you with that.

So in the meantime, these people will suggest we have guns on our buses and in our passenger trains and in our National Parks, everywhere.

It's "All guns, all the time."

Yeehaw.

Links: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/05/13/3608567/man-wounded-in-raytown-shooting.html; http://www.kctv5.com/story/18375518/metro-squad-raytown-man-out-for-jog-gunned-down;
http://www.kansascity.com/2012/05/14/3609598_metro-squad-investigating-killing.html; http://www.tonyskansascity.com/2012/05/rage-and-reaction-regarding-innocent.html; http://www.kshb.com/dpp/news/crime/daughter-of-raytown-man-shot-while-jogging-speaks-out; http://www.kctv5.com/story/18407272/raytown-church-leader-fatally-shot-during-jog-mourned-as-police-release-surveillance-video; http://fox4kc.com/2012/05/14/church-family-disturbed-by-members-murder/;;

I'm so old...

...I remember when the late-night talk shows lasted an hour and a half.

And there was only one.

And it was funny.

Very funny.

Not only that, but as the guests came out and were done with their interview, they slid to the side, the left, as we faced them, and stayed on the show for the entire program.

Pretty different, especially compared to today's interviews and shows.

In case you didn't see it last night: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/tag/johnny-carson/

Quote of the day

''Remember, you cannot be both young and wise. Young people who pretend to be wise to the ways of the world are mostly just cynics. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don't learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Cynics always say no. But saying 'yes' begins things. Saying 'yes' is how things grow. Saying 'yes' leads to knowledge. 'Yes' is for young people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say 'yes'.'' —Stephen Colbert

Monday, May 14, 2012

What they didn't tell you about using Bing

For anyone who cares and who pays attention to search engines and the progress of the internet, I thought this brief article, today, in The New York Times was interesting.

It seems, if you're going to flip over and use bing for your search, there's something you ought to know. That is:

"Last week, when Microsoft gave a reporter early access to the new version of Bing, a message in the search bar of the product indicated that all the search terms entered on Bing could be shared with friends in a Facebook social network."

Oh, joy.

One more place our information is not only shown to everyone else but collected and--yes--no doubt sold to other companies.

Yeehaw, eh?

Link: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/10/going-social-but-not-creepy-in-the-new-bing/

Every Facebook user's biggest fear

I just saw this movie trailer, earlier today. Naturally, my first thought was, yes, to be a "wise guy", of sorts, and crack that it is the biggest fear of any Facebook user. That is, not having any electricity so they couldn't get online.

Enough of the humor.

After that, this seems to be what every Right-Winger/Libertarian/Reactionary/"Ender" seems to think is America's future in the short-term. And of course it is since that Socialist/Commie/Leftist/Radical and, oh, yes, Black man, President Obama is in charge. Right? And women are getting more power, money and authority. That can't be good. And gays. They're gaining equality. You know we're all going to hell when all that happens.

Fascinating.

Not just because it's JJ Abrams but because I think there is a zeitgeist in, at minimum, our nation that is along these lines. That is, that we--the US, at least, if not civilization--is coming to the end. The "big" end. The end of everything.

If you notice, too, at the beginning of the trailer, a plane drops out of the sky rather like what was predicted for all of us at midnight when the clocks and calendars went from 1999 to 2000.

Except, of course, it didn't happen.

Links: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2070791/; http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=iv&list=PL2B104252E94684C2&src_vid=JwfCRAtkYEI&index=1&v=jWNlS51QYmQ&annotation_id=annotation_341689

Statistic of the day

From the "You think you have it tough?" department:

"For every dollar of non-home wealth owned by white families, people of color have only one cent."

Links: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/05/14-0; http://arc.org/downloads/2009_race_recession_0909.pdf

America: What we are, what we've become

I've written a little bit about this before, what we are, as America lately, what with the imbalances of our government and country.

Here are a few more tidbits on what we are and who we Americans have become, this time from the website Common Dreams:

For starters, according to the article (link at bottom, as usual): "We're near the bottom of the developed world in children's health and safety."

That was a stunner to me. Didn't we always think "We're number one!"? What happened to being "the richest country in the world"? What happened to having the highest standard of living in the world? Isn't that who we are? Don't we want to take care of our children's health and safety?

Or do we, instead, want to make absolutely sure that our health care corporations stay in a "free market" so they can do--and charge--whatever they please?

What and where are our priorities?

Second: "We've betrayed the young people who were advised to stay in school.

Over 40% of recent college graduates are living with their parents, dealing with government loans that average $27,200. The unemployment rate for young people is about 50%. More than 350,000 Americans with advanced degrees applied for food stamps in 2010."


Once more, what are our priorities?

For our children, for the next generation, for them, let alone for the nation, don't we value education? Isn't it more important that we keep top-notch education affordable, rather than letting corporations of all kinds--schools, book manufacturers, banks, etc.--make tons of money off them. And us?

Third: "The main source of middle-class wealth has been largely wiped out," as most of us so well know.

"American homeowners owe almost as much as the students, with $700 billion of debt over and above the value of their homes."

Here again, it seems we value and want to reward corporations--and the wealthy--before we protect the "common man", the working person, the middle- and lower-classes.

Does that make any sense? Does that seem like smart, productive priorities to you?

Fourth: "We give prison sentences for smoking marijuana, but not for billion-dollar fraud."

They write more--a bit more--about this at the original article but it's nearly that there isn't even any need for it. How much more gross inequality and unfairness can you get than that?

Finally, "You can have health care, if you pay for it."

Three statistics on American health care:

--More than 50 million of us have no health care at all because our system, being "free market Capitalism", leaves it up to us to get insurance and those people don't have it and can't afford it;

--We pay more, as a nation and as individuals, than any other people and nation in the world;

--We are ranked, again, nationally, 37th in the world, at best, in mortality rate. We are more likely to die younger here in the US than in 36 other nations.

Here again, we put our corporations and business and so, the wealthy, ahead--far ahead--of the common good for the nation. This is a health care system that patently isn't working. At least it's not working for the majority of the nation. Strange, dysfunctional priorities.

Their conclusion (at least part of it):

"Privatization simply hasn't worked for health care, mortgage banking, higher education, or prison management. There is little incentive for profit-motivated firms to invest in disadvantaged or underemployed Americans."

My conclusion:

Given all this and then that, on top of this, we spend more--$711 billion dollars per year--on "defense" than any other nation in the world, it seems more indications of strange, unnecessary, unsustainable and very nearly crazy priorities.

What it boils down to is that I don't think we--the American people--know or realize what kind of country we are, who we are, who and what we've become. Further, I don't think most people know what got us here or how we get out of it.

To me, the one most important thing we need to do is get the big money of corporation and wealthy out of our political system and government. We need true, stringent, tough, accountable campaign finance reform so our legislators and their legislation and so, our laws and government can no longer be bought. Until we do that, until we get this big, ugly money out of our system, nothing will change. Everything will remain the same. It will be government for the wealthy and corporations instead of for the average worker and schmoe on the street, so to speak. It will remain government for the top 1%. I think we all know this.

We need to get the money out of the system.

The fact is, we're not on a good path. We need to change that. And it will--has to--come from us, the people, in order to change.

Link to original post: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/05/14-0

Big, ugly, inefficient government?

Or people working together?

From Slate.com:

"Massachusetts tops the nation in fourth and eighth grade education, has the lowest child and teen mortality rates, the lowest percentage of uninsured residents, and the second-highest per capita personal income in the country.

Maybe the liberals there are doing something right?"

Link: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2012/05/massachusetts_is_the_best_state_in_the_union_.single.html

Solar Eclipse we can enjoy later this week

For those who care, there is supposed to be a soar eclipse later this week we should be able to see here in Kansas City, provided the weather cooperates.

From KMBC 9 News/weather:

Sky watchers could be in for a treat on Sunday: Space.com reports that a solar eclipse will be visible over much of the United States, including Kansas City.

Space.com reports that the eclipse willget begin in the central time zone at 7:22 p.m. It will reach its maximum at 8:08 p.m.

Kansas City will see a partial eclipse. We likely won't to see the end of it because the sun will set before the event ends.


Link: http://www.kmbc.com/weather/31060504/detail.html

Most Americans want the defense budget cut

From a recent survey:

Americans Overwhelmingly Support Defense Cuts

"As Congress struggles to rein in the federal deficit, a new survey finds Americans preferred to cut defense spending more than any other program.

In a new survey that not only asked for opinion, but also briefed the respondents on the federal budget, Americans came to a bipartisan conclusion: 67 percent of Republicans and 90 percent of Democrats supported cutting the defense budget."


More:

"'When Americans look at the amount of defense spending compared to spending on other programs, they see defense as the one that should take a substantial hit to reduce the deficit,' said Steven Kull, director of the Program for Public Consultation (PPC), and the lead developer of the survey. 'Clearly the polarization that you are seeing on the floor of the Congress is not reflective of the American people.'"

We spend over 711 billion dollars, annually on defense.

It's disgusting.

It's out of balance.

It's not realistic.

It's not sustainable.

Write your Congressional members today. By email, it's easy.

Links: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/05/10/152426302/survey-americans-overwhelmingly-support-defense-cuts: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/355447-defense-budget-survey-full-results.html

Inconsistencies

"Mentioning Jesus in your speech: Small government. Doing what Jesus asked: Big government." --Stephen Colbert, "The Colbert Report", Comedy Central

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Entertainment overnight

Great news on George W. Bush and members of his administration

I just found this today:

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney Convicted Of War Crimes

In the first verdict of its kind since former President George W. Bush left office, he and several members of his administration have been successfully convicted in absentia of war crimes in Malaysia.

Former President Bush, Former Vice-President Dick Cheney, Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo that crafted the legal ‘justification’ for torture that basically said, ‘we can if we want to even if it’s illegal’ were the defendants. None were present, of course, but international war crime trials do not require the presence of the accused. The trial was run according to the standards set by the Nuremberg Trials to convict war criminals after World War II.

Professor Gurdial Singh Nijar, who headed the prosecution said, “The tribunal was very careful to adhere scrupulously to the regulations drawn up by the Nuremberg courts and the International Criminal Courts”.


Let's be clear here, too. This is not about blaming him for any of our other, current problems or situations, far from it.

This is purely because he lied to us, the American public, about the situation in Iraq and then went against our own, internal, national laws as well as external, international ones, too, and attacked that foreign, sovereign nation pre-emptively and offensively.

Let me say again, folks: that's against international law. Period.

Then, too, there's this: "Bush and Cheney have not only brazenly admitted they authorized torture in direct contravention of the Geneva Convention, but bragged about it."


Somebody needed to do this. Thank goodness Malaysia and the Malaysians did.

We need more people and nations to do the same.

They likely won't, especially the more prominent, wealthy, Western nations and that's a shame.

There's something else to note about this good news here, too, though.

It hasn't been in our national news.

At all.

Not the major networks. Not one, I don't believe, and it shouldn't be overlooked. It's significant. As the article says, "It's a BFD."

Hopefully more countries follow their lead. We'll see. I'm not holding my breath.

The reason this is important is because it was all a lie and because it was against law and finally, because we need to learn from those mistakes.

This second Iraq War and anything like it needs to never be repeated.

If we don't learn, as a nation and a world, it likely will and there would be more needless deaths and tragedy.

Link: http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/05/13/george-w-bush-dick-cheney-convicted-of-war-crimes/

Important new documentary coming out

Fortunately, it is to be on HBO. That means some people, at least, will see it.

If it were at the theaters, it would get acclaim, some would see it but not enough people. And likely, too, it wouldn't be the people seeing it who should see it.

This way, if it's on HBO, in our homes, in our living rooms, we don't have to get up and go anywhere to take it in.

And there's more and cheaper food, too.

Great idea for (any) Mother's Day in Kansas City


Want a great way to enjoy this or any Mother's Day?

It's cheap, since it's free, it's entertaining as heck, it's pleasant and positive. There nearly isn't enough good I can say about it or recommend about it.

In Kansas City, go to Loose Park.

Wow.

To begin, the park is packed, sure, but in a totally manageable way.

It's full of families and daughters and sons and husbands and yes, moms, all over the place doing a whole vareity of things by all types of people. It makes it great for people-watching since there are all ages and from all over town.

Most any Sunday, in Loose Park, is great, depending on the weather, naturally, but Mother's Days are especially great. It's so nice to see the families out, the children, taking their moms out.

Sure, the Plaza and other places are loaded with people but there's something far less commercial about this day in that park. It's happier. It's less loaded with the assumption of taking Mom to lunch or dinner. It's just great.

It can make you feel good about America and society, if even for a moment or day.

Happy Mother's Day, to all the Moms out there.